If you were to tell me that I would be writing about anything other than another terrible loss based on how Juventus played in the first half Sunday, I would have honestly been shocked. It was that bad, that worthless, that awful that Juve’s performance was giving me that sinking feeling of another Sunday spent wondering about what the hell just happened and where they’re supposed to go from here.
Thankfully, Andrea Pirlo decided to bring on Alvaro Morata to start the second half.
Unfortunately, Juventus’ second-half dominance couldn’t be turned into anything other than another draw against a team hanging out around the relegation zone.
Another day, another game where Juventus dropped points in a game where they needed to win to solidify the hopes of finishing in the top four. Morata’s left-footed curler all of 40 seconds into the second half could only save so much of what happened before it — an absolutely awful showing that saw Fiorentina go ahead and look like the better side rather than one that entered Sunday’s game all of five points above the relegation zone. The 1-1 draw, ninth draw of the 2020-21 season, saw them move up into a tie for second place with AC Milan, but knowing how things have gone for much of the last few months not getting three points will only continue to linger over all of our heads because this has become all too familiar to all of us.
Seriously, think about it for a second ...
- Loss and a draw against Fiorentina, which currently sits in 14th place.
- Loss and a draw against Benevento, which currently sits in 17th place.
- Two draws against Hellas Verona, which currently sits in 10th place.
- Win and a draw against Torino, which currently sits in 16th place.
- Win and a loss against Crotone, which currently sits dead last in 20th place.
You get the picture. I won’t go any further.
It wasn’t like Firoentina was doing a lot to make things difficult on Juventus. Even as they struggled to do much of anything right in the first half, Juve still had more of the possession and completed more passes than the Fiorentina. The problem was, when Fiorentina had the ball, they were actually putting it to good use and creating chances. Juventus, on the other hand, couldn’t do much of anything right in the final third of the field, and the one shot — which wasn’t on goal — was reflective of that.
Morata’s moment of brilliance bailed them out in terms of avoiding a loss, but the inability to add on to it — something that we’ve also seen plenty of times this season — was the reason why we’re sitting here talking about another draw rather than an actual win. You know, a win that would have done a lot of good knowing that Milan is wobbling and second place is truly up for grabs entering the final month of the season.
Instead, we’re left to hope for some more help so that Juve don’t drop a few spots before all of the games in Round 33 are over and done with.
I don’t know what to say, really. We’ve been down this road so many times before this season that I’m running out of ways to describe what we all just watched. Juventus played poorly, then got better in the second half but it still wasn’t enough to beat a bad team.
Juventus might answer the call against some of the better teams in Serie A, but when it comes to some of the worst teams the top flight of Italian football has to offer they simply have alternative to falling on their face. Fiorentina are likely going to be thrilled with a point knowing what their situation is. Juventus? Nah, this isn’t good at all. Another missed opportunity, and they’ve got their performance to blame more than anything else.
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- This is the ninth straight Serie A game in which Juventus hasn’t recorded a clean sheet. How they still have, statistically, one of the best defenses in the league is somewhat mind-boggling to me.
- Dejan Kulusevski, on his 21st birthday, put a picture perfect cross on a platter to Cristiano Ronaldo on the back post with only a few minutes to go. Ronaldo proceeded to absolutely whiff on the cross as it went out for a goal kick. That pretty much summed up Ronaldo’s performance against Fiorentina.
- Ronaldo took five shots, none of them were on target.
- Morata was the only other Juventus player to take more than one shot in the game.
- Morata’s goal was the only shot that Juventus actually put on frame.
- Who knows if Ronaldo is 100 percent physically right now, but his form of late has been extremely un-Ronaldo-like. Chances you see him score almost every single time are now being wasted and you can see that he’s really pressing to try and make something happen. (It also doesn’t help that his body language out there is awful.)
- Rodrigo Bentancur, my very out-of-form Large Adult Son, sprinted 35 or so yards at full steam to win a ball back in Fiorentina’s defensive third. He went on a run into the box and looked like it was going to be a rare foray that far forward. Then he decided to pass it ... and it missed its target. Bentancur’s season in a nutshell right there.
- Aaron Ramsey ... I got nothin’.
- In a surprise to nobody, some of the calls that Davide Massa made (or didn’t make) Sunday were rather curious to say the least.
- With that being said, the handball call on Adrien Rabiot was deserved. Can you imagine the Juventus conspiracy theories that would have come out of that if VAR had ruled in Juve’s favor? Don’t start.
- Dusan Vlahovic’s penalty kick ... cold blooded.
- Take a guess as to who got credited with the assist on Morata’s goal. Go ahead. It’s REALLY hard to figure out. We’ve rarely talked about him getting any sort of assists this season.
- Boy oh boy was that a forgettable 45 minutes for Paulo Dybala.
- I don’t know about you, but I really was preparing for the stoppage-time gut punch from Fiorentina after Juventus dominated the second half with room to spare. It would have just been so fitting for how they’ve done against a team that’s trying to avoid relegation.
- This summer is going to be fun, isn’t it?! Don’t answer that.